Africa

Zimbabwe’s first-time voters will decide election results

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Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe’s youth and more specifically the first time voters aged between 18 and 25 are viewed by many analysts as the major deciding factors of who will claim victory on July the 30th.

That’s when the Southern African nation heads to the polls.

The country’s electoral commission says more than a million out of the five and half million registered voters fall in this bracket.

The main opposition MDC, led by 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa appears to be appealing more and more to this group and has been drawing huge crowds.

Incumbent leader and Zanu PF candidate Emmerson Mnangagwa was quick to target this key constituency as well.

The battle lines for the July 30th polls have been drawn. And it’s now down to serious business for the incumbent.

The President took his campaign to his home province and made it clear that unlike his predecessor he is not taking the country’s youth for granted.

“You are the future. Now, if you are the future, you must be empowered now. For you, to be good leaders of tomorrow you have to be empowered.”

Mnangagwa said his administration aims to be a middle-income country by 2030, prioritising business and economics as well.

It aims to create economic opportunities to empower the youths in all sectors reducing the unemployment rate.

Mnangagwa says, “Within the last five to six months, we have attracted in this country around 16 billion dollars in terms of projects alone and this must go towards the creation of employment, the bringing into the country of technology.”

He further called on the nation to remain patient as his administration rebuilds the country and charts the way forward for the country.

Mnangangwa has promised that his government will ensure free and fair elections.

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Men should be gender activists to fight patriarchy: Mlambo-Ngcuka

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The only way to bring an end to patriarchy is mobilise men who will become gender activists, this according to Executive Director of UN Women, Doctor Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Speaking during the Thabo Mbeki Foundation ninth annual Africa Day lecture at the University of South Africa (UNISA) in Pretoria, Mlambo-Ngcuka stressed that it is important that more men become gender activists.

“All over the world not enough men have been mobilised to become gender activists and dismantle patriarchy where they project where they project positive masculinity and fight and defeat the dominant toxic masculinity which expects a man to beat up somebody in order to look strong. It is not about fixing the woman. Fix the system, change the paradigm.”

Mlambo-Ngcuka who is also the United Nations Under-Secretary-General, delivered the lecture under the theme “Gender Equality and Women Empowerment: A Necessary Paradigm Shift in Africa’s Quest for Democratisation, Development and Poverty Eradication.”

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Lesbian film ban ‘ridiculous’ says Kenya Film Commission

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The head of Kenya’s film commission has slammed a decision to impose a domestic ban a Kenya-made film about lesbian love that received a standing ovation at this month’s Cannes festival. “Rafiki”, based on an award-winning short story, tells the tale of two young women who fall in love and was slapped with a ban
Source: The New Age

NGOs demand the release of 26 activists in Niger

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Ten international NGOs including Amnesty International and Oxfam called Friday for the release of 26 civil society activists detained since March after a banned demonstration in Niamey. A joint statement published on Oxfam’s website called on “the authorities in Niger to ease the situation by releasing the detainees and bring an end to the prosecutions”. Adama
Source: The New Age

DRC priest ‘infected with Ebola’ as death toll revised down

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A Catholic priest has been quarantined in the Democratic Republic of Congo after being infected with Ebola as health officials on Friday revised down the number of deaths to 22. “We have quarantined a priest from the diocese of Mbandaka-Bikoro who tested positive” for the Ebola virus, a medical source told AFP on Thursday, on
Source: The New Age

ICC seeks UN help in arresting 3 Libyan fugitives

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The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor requested help from the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday to arrest three fugitives in Libya, including military strongman Khalifa Haftar and a son of the late leader Moamer Kadhafi.

During a UN Security Council meeting, Fatou Bensouda noted that ICC investigators had traveled to Libya in March for the first time since June 2012 to help advance investigations on alleged war crimes.

“I repeat my call to this council to engage with my office and lend your support in assisting with strategies for the arrest and surrender of ICC fugitives in Libya,” she said about the fugitives.

“Greater deterrence can only be assured through the arrest and surrender of suspects to the ICC so that they may answer the charges against them.”

The prosecutor warned she “will not hesitate” to request new arrest warrants to hold the suspects responsible.

Among those targeted is Seif al-Islam Kadhafi, whose whereabouts have been unknown since June 2014. Bensouda said she was unsure whether he was being held.

Warrants are also out for the arrests of former security chief Al-Tuhamy Mohamed Khaled, accused of war crimes committed in 2011, and Busayf Al-Werfalli, a commander of the Al-Saiqa brigade wanted for the cold-blooded execution of 33 people and other war crimes.

Werfalli has been accused of more crimes since an August 2017 arrest warrant against him, according to Bensouda.
Bensouda has appealed directly to Haftar to ensure Werfalli’s arrest.

Libya has been wracked by chaos since a 2011 uprising that toppled and killed its longtime dictator Kadhafi, with two rival authorities vying for control.

Haftar supports an administration based in the east of the country. A UN-backed unity government based in the capital has struggled to assert its authority outside the west.

Werfalli’s “immediate arrest and surrender is now more important than ever,” Bensouda said.

In addition to accountability, his arrest would “send a clear message to would-be perpetrators that such reprehensible crimes will not be tolerated and that there will be real consequences for the commission of such crimes,” the prosecutor added.

The post ICC seeks UN help in arresting 3 Libyan fugitives appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Nigeria marks four-year anniversary of Chibok kidnap

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Nigeria on Saturday marked four years since Boko Haram abducted more than 200 schoolgirls from the remote town of Chibok, with renewed calls for their release and that of thousands of others seized in the bloody conflict.

A total of 219 girls were taken from the Government Girls Secondary School in the remote town in Borno state on the evening of April 14, 2014 and have become an enduring symbol of the Islamist insurgency.

Four years on, 112 are still being held.

On Friday night, about 100 people attended a vigil in Nigeria’s biggest city, Lagos, under a busy flyover whose pillars are now adorned with brightly painted murals of the missing girls.

“We are here to show the government that we are still missing our sisters,” Zakaria Galang, a brother of one of the students who is yet to return, told AFP.

Further events are planned in the capital, Abuja, on Saturday.

Nigeria’s president in 2014, Goodluck Jonathan, was heavily criticised for his response to the abduction but the man who replaced him, Muhammadu Buhari, has had more success.

Since 2016, 107 girls have been found, released or escaped as part of a government deal with Boko Haram and the administration has said back-channel talks are ongoing for further releases and a possible end to the wider conflict.

Another activist, Habiba Balogun, said she hoped that would happen after nearly nine years of violence that has left at least 20 000 dead and made more than 2.6 million homeless.

“The government has said that they are ready to negotiate; they want to bring this nightmare to an end,” she said.

Buhari pledged to the Chibok girls’ parents that their daughters “will never be forgotten or abandoned to their fate” despite the time that had passed.

The former military ruler has repeatedly claimed Boko Haram was virtually defeated but while there have been clear army gains, security threats remain.

In February, fighters loyal to a Boko Haram faction headed by Abu Mus’ab al-Barnawi seized 112 schoolgirls and one boy from the town of Dapchi, in Yobe state.

One hundred and seven were returned in mid-March. Five reportedly died, while one girl, the only Christian in the group is still being held.

Buhari said the return of so many students from Dapchi and Chibok “should give confidence that all hope is not lost” and showed the government was “doing its very best”.

There had been “unexpected setbacks” in talks because of infighting within Boko Haram.

But he added: “We will continue to persist, and the parents should please not give up. Don’t give up hope of seeing our daughters back home again.”

The post Nigeria marks four-year anniversary of Chibok kidnap appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

‘Silent, invisible’ malnutrition seen as threat to generations in Congo

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Starving children are the glaring face of Congo’s humanitarian crisis, but millions more people are suffering slow onset malnutrition which could have harmful effects for generations, the United Nations said on Thursday.

About 13 million of the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 80 million people are in need of humanitarian aid – 50 percent more than last year – since fighting in the central Kasai region and other areas forced millions to flee their homes.

Although violence has subsided in Kasai, fields are still barren and many people have not received food aid due to lack of funding, the United Nations and aid agencies said ahead of a donor conference in Geneva on Friday. Congo’s government has shunned the upcoming aid conference, saying that humanitarian actors are exaggerating the level of need, which will discourage investment.

“The problem with chronic malnutrition is that you don’t really see it. It is silent and invisible,” said Alexis Bonte, country representative of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Between 60 and 70 percent of people in Kasai and Congo’s other conflict zones have chronic malnutrition, which stunts children’s physical and mental development and makes them less likely to attain better opportunities as adults, he said.

Aid agencies are racing to help the 10 to 15 percent of people who need food urgently to survive, but those suffering a long-term lack of nutrients are harder to assist, Bonte said.

“That is one that we cannot handle by ourselves because we don’t have the money and we don’t have the capacity,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone after visiting Kasai.

People are starting to re-plant fields, he said, but it will take one to two years to regain normal crop production.

Last year assistance reached only a third of people in need in the massive Central African country as funding fell short, said the United Nations which is seeking to raise four times as much this year – $1.7 billion.

British charity Oxfam said it was forced to half food rations for 90,000 people last year due to lack of funding, and this year cut back even more.

Crises in Kasai and eastern provinces have been aggravated by President Joseph Kabila’s refusal to step down at the end of his elected mandate in 2016 with uncertainty sparking deadly street protests and fears Congo could slide back into civil war.

“The stakes are incredibly high in DR Congo. Continued inaction would be measured in loss of civilian lives,” said Jan Egeland of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The post ‘Silent, invisible’ malnutrition seen as threat to generations in Congo appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

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15 killed in Nigeria bank robbery, attack on police station

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Fifteen people were killed on Thursday when a gang of armed men attacked two banks and a police station in the Nigerian town of Offa, police told AFP Friday.

The brazen assault happened in part of Nigeria’s volatile central region, where criminal gangs and cattle rustlers regularly attack security forces.

“They attacked the police station and at the same time attacked two banks,” said Kwara state police spokesman Ajayi Okasanmi, adding that nine police and six civilians died in the violence.

The gang invaded a busy commercial area where several banks and the police station are located in broad daylight around 4:50 pm (1550 GMT), said Okasanmi.

“We are going all-out to ensure we arrest them,” he said, adding that the haul from the robbery was not immediately known.

The robbers charged into the banks and shot people on the spot before making off with bags of cash on stolen motorbikes, said a witness.

“They split into two groups. One group attacked the divisional police station where they opened indiscriminate fire,” said a resident who witnessed the attack, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“The other group attacked the two banks, shooting people they met inside, many of them in the head,” he said.

“They carried away money in sacks from the banks and fled on motorcycles they seized from okada (motorcycle taxis) riders.”

Senate President Bukola Saraki, one of Nigeria’s highest-ranking politicians, commiserated with the victims of the “savage attack” in Offa.

In a statement released Friday, Saraki said the robbery “is a despicable act committed by cruel individuals.”

Gang attacks are a persistent problem for Nigeria, adding to security woes in a country already grappling with the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has had to deploy military throughout Nigeria, West Africa’s largest economy, to quell violence in the absence of a strong police force and rigorous legal system.

On Wednesday, Buhari reiterated his support for $1 billion in emergency funding for weapons purchases to fight security threats across the nation, though critics warn that similar defense spending in the past has been tainted by corruption.

Police and military in the country were subject to intense scrutiny in February after it emerged that they were unable to repel Boko Haram fighters who stormed the town of Dapchi and abducted 111 schoolgirls.

Since then, 105 of the schoolgirls have been returned following negotiations with the Nigerian government, though six others — including one Christian who refused to denounce her faith — are still unaccounted for. The five others are believed to have died in the initial stages of the kidnapping.

Military and police are overstretched in Nigeria, which, along with fighting Boko Haram jihadists in the north, is battling militants and pirates in the oil-rich south, a simmering separatist movement in the east and a bloody battle between herdsmen and farmers spanning the vast central region.

Fighting fires on so many fronts takes an economic toll. This week Nigeria’s central bank governor Godwin Emefiele said the “herdsmen-related violence” poses a key risk to the country’s economic growth.

The post 15 killed in Nigeria bank robbery, attack on police station appeared first on SABC News – Breaking news, special reports, world, business, sport coverage of all South African current events. Africa's news leader..

Source: SABCNews

Prince Lobelungu Khumalo safe in Zimbabwe

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Prince Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo of the Ndebele nation.

Crown Prince Bulelani Lobengula Khumalo of the Ndebele nation in Zimbabwe is safe and not detained by Zimbabwe authorities.

The Prince is reported to have landed at the Dr Joshua Nkomo International Airport near Bulawayo from South Africa on Friday afternoon, for his planned coronation on Saturday.

Last month, Prince Lobengula visited AmaXhosa king Zwelonke Sigcau in the Eastern Cape where he vowed to revive their kingdom under the new administration.

Family spokesperson, Prince Hlabezulu Khumalo says it is however unclear if the coronation will still go ahead.

“The position is that prince Lobengula Khumalo was delayed arriving at the airport… somehow people panicked that he must have been detained, but from what we hear he was not, he’s safely in Bulawayo. We are waiting to hear to hear from people at home what the judgement has been on the matter.”

The kingdom became defunct in 1894 following the mysterious death of Lobengula, the son of king Mzilikazi.

 

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Source: SABCNews

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